#437. “You’re going on a long journey…”

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Dec 15

Perhaps I should have consulted a tea leaf reader when compiling this post; according to the rumour mill, Fuji’s X-Pro2 is due in about a month – around 15th January to be precise.


But that’s all speculation. There is some evidence that the -2 is imminent though, including the EXIF data lifted from some of the recent images of the Paris outrages, posted by a photojournalist on the scene.


There is also at least one blurry photograph doing the rounds. It shows a top plate, with the new camera’s name and a cable release attached to the shutter button. That could have come from the Fantasy Land of Photoshop Hoaxes as much as anywhere else – it’s hard to know.


Predictably, Fuji is saying nothing.


I was a really late starter with the X-Pro, getting mine just a couple of months ago. So new is it that I’ve barely learned how to switch it on and yet here I am positing a new camera.


Chutzpah? Well, no. My X-Pro2 wish list is short and echoes many other long-time users.


For me, I want the AF point adjustment to be as easy as it is on the X100T. The four quadrants of the selector do a fine job and it’s easy to reset the focus area to the centre.


I foreswore the APS-C sensor size some years ago, when I started back on FF with the wonder of a D700. That lasted a long while, until my X100T arrived and suddenly, I became less and less concerned about quality and rendering, largely because Fuji’s sensor technology and perfectly matched lens has given APS-C such a strong boost. At 16mp, the X-Pro’s current sensor works brilliantly well and delivers crisp, colourful and workable RAW images. If it were only to reflect the technological changes that have occurred in the last four years, a jump to (at least) 24mp would be well justified. Maybe more. Based on the current product cycle, the X-Pro3 won’t appear until around 2020, so this sensor really does need to have legs,


And yes, I’d like a full frame sensor, but as said above, this is no longer a deal breaker.


The X100T’s viewfinder switches between optical and digital with the flick of a switch and I confess, I use the digital option almost exclusively. It’s brilliant and coupled to the X100’s silent electronic shutter, an unbeatable combination for discreet street shooting. Implementing both on the -2 should be easy…


Then there’s video. There was a time when most of us railed about getting a camera with our new Nokia, or Ericsson. I mean, it’s a damned phone, not some hybrid toy after all. Who needs a bloody camera? Well, that rant didn’t last long and today, it’s difficult to avoid hauling out a phone to take a snap shot of an interesting sign, book title, scene, or just about anything. So I’m really leery of asking Fuji to remove the video function in my new X-Pro. I have no clue as to when I might suddenly find that I have a use for it after all.


But I will nonetheless. I currently have two Nikon DSLRs, a two Sonys (an NEX-7 and a NEX C-3) and two Fujis, all of which have a video capability, none of which I use. Added to which, the location of the video controls are invariably placed by a blind/drunk designer acting on the instructions of a committee that couldn’t agree what they wanted. Case in point; the NEX-7 arrived with the most ludicrously placed video button, which innocent finger proximity invariably activated at the moment critique in an imortant photo shoot. It took a firmware update to provide a system-level off switch.


Articulated rear LCD? My Sony NEX-7 has one. Sometimes when I remember, I use it. Most times, It stays very neatly folded up. So, do I want one on my new X-Pro? Maybe. I can’t recall.


Some weeks ago, Ming Thein blogged about new mirrorless design. It was an excellent piece and drew many hundreds of comments, illustrating (as if were needed) just how wide of the mark Canon and Nikon are with their mirrorless offerings rumblings.


Given Fuji’s earlier working relationship with Nikon, the latter’s tardiness in delivering a mirrorless solution is even more perplexing.


As a two system user; Nikon for when my Land Rover does the hauling and APS-C for long distance travel, I’m moderately happy. The full frame/APS-C issue is thereby neatly resolved and the image quality I’m able to deliver continues to improve – albeit at different rates for each sensor format.


Will the X-Pro2 make a huge difference? Probably not, but if Fuji sees its way to implement these (simple enough) enhancements, then improving the quality of my photographic output will be more about honing my abilities and less on working with the oddities of the camera I’m using.


Either way, I’m fairly sure I’ll be along to the Friendly Neighbourhood Camera Centre soon after the first X-Pro2s arrive, credit card at the ready and no doubt you’ll be reading about it soon after that.


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  • pete guaron says:

    I lust after the day the camera manufacturers get the right combo on these cameras. The Fuji comes closer than most, but doesn’t quite do it for me – I’d be unhappy to be stuck with a 35mm equivalent focal length. That said, most of the others I’ve looked at are well off the mark.

    Absent a TTL viewfinder, an electronic viewfinder is essential IMHO. Otherwise, when there is strong backlighting, the image on the viewfinder screen is all but invisible – and backlighting is possibly the commonest situation. Fuji provides both, and that’s great.

    I would be a bit “iffy” about an increase to 24 mega pixels – comparing sensor sizes, that would be around about the equivalent on a full frame sensor of something like 57 MP, which might prove counter productive. As pixels shrink in size, they lose the ability to carry quite as much information, and there is apparently a risk of “leakage” to adjoining pixels.

    • Artuk says:

      There is nothing “iffy” about 24M on APS-C, as the pixel pitch is about the same as the current state of the art full frame high resolution sensors that Sony also make (36-42Mp). Almost every other APS-C enthusiast camera has moved to the much newer 24Mp unit from Sony, which replaced the older 16Mp unit they make that Fuji still use. I have been using the Sony 24Mp APS-C sensor for over a year, having previously owned the older 16Mp X-Trans unit, and can say the resolution, dynamic range, and noise management are better (remember that Fuji exaggerate their high ISO values by about 1 EV so ISO3200 on the dial is actually close to ISO1600 for comparison to other cameras, and the raw development process appears to require colour noise smoothing that cannot be turned off by the user). The 24Mp Bayer sensor does not suffer all the artefacts that the Fuji X Trans unit causes. In my experience the 24Mp unit is an excellent sensor and there is nothing “Iffy” about it at all. Many Nikon, Pentax and Sony camera users would also agree as their cameras include versions of it.

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